Val d'Orcia farm land with hay bales

Falling in love with Tuscany
Val d'Orcia is pure art from top to bottom

Val d'Orcia, Tuscany/Italy (2017)When your eyes have the luxury to bathe in green or golden, wide, almost endless and soft rolling hills, your tongue and palate have the privilege to taste
the finest and most exquisite red wines on this planet and you are lucky enough to also nibble on some very delicious aged pecorino cheese then you better enjoy every second of it because
you are very close to paradise, you are in Val d'Orcia in Tuscany/Italy. God must have created this piece of land to prepare us for heaven. There simply is no other explanation for this breathtaking beauty and for sure there are no better words to describe this treasure with its countless jewels. No matter where you come from and which kind of beautiful nature you have at home, Val d'Orcia will amaze you, will take the air out of your lungs and will make your heart beat so very fast. 
Tuscan people love their land and they show it
When you see the land of Val d'Orcia in front of you you just know these Tuscan people must love their country with all their heart. No painter or photographer trying to capture the overwhelming beauty of this Tuscan landscape would ever want to change a thing. It's perfect as it is. Val d'Orcia is pure art, wherever you look. A composition made by a genius. It wouldn't look like it does wouldn't it be for the Tuscan farmers who are nothing less than gifted landscape architects, composing their land almost like musicians a symphony. Tuscan people not only are maintaining their land but dressing it up like a mother her kids for Sunday church. Grand cypress trees planted around their homes, grass cut in all kind of patterns, hay balls on the fields, vineyards on the left and olive trees on the right – this is how Tuscans elevated their once simple farm houses to gorgeous estates. And the Tuscan sun in cooperation with the clouds paints this gorgeous landscape for us not on a canvas but right into our hearts.  

Val d'Orcia is an "UNESCO World Heritage Site" 
There is a reason why Val d'Orcia, roughly between the two Tuscan cities Siena in the north and Grosetto in the south is protected as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2004. And there is a reason why almost every beautiful photo or painting you see of Tuscany was taken or created in this region. Val d'Orcia is not only known for its rolling hills, the golden wheat fields, the olive and cypress trees, the vineyards but also for its lovely medieval towns. Each single one has a rich and very interesting history and enough "leftovers" to present to baffled visitors. Next to the cypresses it's these medieval towns on top of every other hill, which let photographers and painters heartbeat rise.

Brunello, Vino Nobile, Pecorino and extra-vergin olive oil  
Val d'Orcia can make you happy, if for whatever reason not with its nature then for sure with its local food, oil and wines. When it comes to wine then the flavor of the area is dominated by the reds of Montalcino, Brunello and Montepulciano, Vino Nobile. Trust me, if only a few drops of these two wines every touched your palate you won't even reach for another wine anymore. And mind you, these are only two of many excellent wines the proud winemakers of Tuscany produce.
  
Not less important are the olive oil maker of the region. Listening to them when they talk about their lives around the olives you very fast become a higher regard for the real olive oil. Knowing how much work they have to put into their land and trees, to be able to harvest the green olives and make it to oily gold. Olive oil is a lifestyle, not only in Val d'Orcia though, but there you can see firsthand why it is like that. Olive oil can be tasted in oil tastings right at the farm houses in Val d'Orcia. One fact to know is: extra-virgin olive oil can not include any chemicals whatsoever and must have a low acidity level. And storage is important, light, air and obviously heat can ruin olive oil faster than it was produced.
 
Right between all the vineyards and olive groves in Val d'Orcia you find also the home of one of the most famous cheeses in Italy: the Pecorino di Pienza, made exclusively in and around the town of Pienza, which is located between Montalcino and Montepulciano. The cheese got its name from "pecora", the Italian word for sheep, as the cheese is made solely from sheep’s milk. Cheese connoisseurs will tell you that the Pecorino from Pienza comes with a very special taste since the hills of Val d'Orcia would provide a very unique food for the sheep. 
 
Last but not least it should be mentioned that Val d'Orcia has also like many other Italian regions its own style when it comes to pasta. The special local pasta is called "Pici" (or "Pinci" in Montalcino), handmade long and irregular, thick spaghetti, served mostly very al dente with meat sauce or the typical local "cacio e pepe", a light but spicy cheese sauce.